LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) - Rick Reeder, the associational ministry strategist for the Caldwell-Lyon Association, isn’t letting the limitations of the COVID-19 pandemic discourage his ministry to 39 churches in western Kentucky.
Instead of prayer-walking with ministry leaders, he’s prayer-driving.
Reeder, who has held his position as a leader in the association for almost 20 years, drives to and around several churches each day, with the goal of getting to every church before regular in-person services resume in the coming days or weeks.
“I think the Lord put it on my heart to do this,” Reeder said. “Knowing that the churches cannot meet, I felt it would be important to drive to the church building and pray on the parking lot.
“When I arrive to the parking lot, at some point, I will take pictures of the church and sign and sit in my car and pray. Sometimes I get out as well. When I finish, I post on Facebook and fill in a little information about the pastor and sometimes the founding of the church.”
Reeder is continuing his journey this week: “I will post pictures and details about four churches today (Tuesday) and go to another five this week.”
But this isn’t the first time Reeder and his association have led out in prayer and evangelism in the western Kentucky community.
Reeder mentioned the Caldwell-Lyon Association’s past experiences with prayer-walking as a means of evangelism. He noted that he anticipates the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s “Gospel to Every Home” initiative coupling in with the prayer-driving he has already done.
“Our Association has [also] done gospel saturation to 45,000 homes in Mexico and is currently doing the same in Staten Island,” Reeder said. “We always either walk past the homes or, in rural areas, we drive and pray before going to the house. I’m just using this example to pray on sight with insight, as we say.”
Eric Allen, missions mobilization team leader at the KBC, praised Reeder and other associational leaders for their initiative. “Prayer-driving is great way to intercede for the churches during these difficult days of ministry when they aren’t able to gather with them,” he said.
“At a time when social distancing limits our physical connectedness, they can connect through prayer on behalf of their pastors and churches.”
Reeder and others say praying onsite at a local church is another important way to have a semblance of that connection.
“Praying on location provides insight to the church’s context and individual situation that they may not have known otherwise,” Allen said.
In addition to Reeder, other associational mission strategists across the state have embraced prayer-driving as a tangible way to minister to local congregations. These others include John Smith of the Lynn Association, Rodney Cude of the Ohio River Association and Randy McPheron of the Rockcastle Association.
“Our prayer drive was just a way we could let our churches and their pastor know that we love them, that we are lifting them up in prayer daily, that we miss them and look forward to gathering together once again,” explained Smith.
“The work an AMS does has changed dramatically during this pandemic,” Allen said. “But the truth remains that the greatest work an AMS can do is to pray for his pastors and their churches. I trust every pastor would be encouraged to know his associational mission strategist is visiting his church and praying for him and the needs of the church.”